Too Soon to Quit

“The good thing about serving in Indonesia for the long haul is that even though there are many obstacles, we can see God working in His time,” said Indonesia field director Larry Fish. “It is always too soon to quit.” This sentiment characterized the first Alliance missionaries to arrive in the country, including Robert A. Jaffray, who surveyed Indonesia, known then as the East Indies, in 1928. He began ministry in Makassar and established a Bible school. 
     Even as the Great Depression threatened to curtail his work, Jaffray urged The Alliance to move ahead, saying, “Do you ask, ‘In view of the terrible economic depression of today, dare we go forward in these new fields and commence new work?’ Yea, rather may we ask this: ‘Dare we, in the face of the command of the Lord Jesus and in the face of the encouraging miracles He is working in our behalf, hesitate for one moment?’” 
     Eleven years later, Walter Post, along with three other C&MA evangelists, walked for a month to reach the newly discovered Wissel Lakes area of what was then Dutch New Guinea, where they had received permission from the Dutch government to enter with the gospel. Post and his colleagues had to evacuate after four months when war broke out in Europe.  
     Despite this apparent roadblock, the Lord continued to call workers to Indonesia’s harvest field, including Pastor Christian David Paksoal, an indigenous believer who came from the island of Ambon to the area of Enarrotali, where he became head of the Alliance Bible school. The Lord used Paksoal to establish elementary schooling in the interior villages. The government provided funds, but faculty members were free to teach Christian principles along with the basics.  
     In November 1956, Pasksoal’s faith in God and his commitment to reaching the lost were severely tested when his nine-year-old son, Robbie—along with another child and two Indonesian C&MA workers—was killed in an attack on all foreigners by the Kapuakus, a primitive tribe. A few days earlier, Robbie had told his parents that he wanted to be a teacher when he grew up and tell the Kapaukus about Jesus. In a broken, faltering voice, Paksoal gave his testimony in song beside Robbie’s grave during the funeral service. He was the second son the family had buried. 
     Paksoal continued to serve God faithfully, and in 1962 he was elected the first president of the Alliance churches in Irian Jaya. The following year, he was asked to hold a baptismal service in the area. He soon learned that one of the candidates had been involved in Robbie’s murder. Paksoal publicly forgave the man and went on to preach a sermon on the power of the Holy Spirit. 
     Today, Pastor Paksoal’s legacy lives on through the church he planted and its nine daughter congregations. His son, Paul, a gifted evangelist with a burden for unreached people, was elected president of the C&MA national church in Indonesia this year. “We believe that in the days to come, just as . . . in the early days of the entrance of the gospel into Irian Jaya, we will face much opposition,” Fish said. “But we feel it is too soon to quit and that the time is ripe to reach the remaining 100,000 unreached people in Indonesia. We feel privileged to work alongside the Paksoal family.”


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